Automate All The Things: Shortcuts

Making Things Simpler

Making things simpler is more than “ease of use”. It’s also about how quickly and efficiently one can complete a task without a lot of hassle. Apple iOS’ Shortcuts is a profound way to utilize and produce workflows: things that would generally take you some time (or third-party apps) can happen very simply in Shortcuts.

Here are some of my favorites, many of which can be found in the Gallery:

  • Log Caffeine, Log Water – I like to keep track of my caffeine and water intake throughout the day. These Shortcuts allow me to update both, which posts updates in the Health app.
  • “Good Morning” – pops up a notification that shows the current weather, tells me my reminders, reminds me to do my morning routines, and reminds me to be thankful and mindful.
  • Log My Weight – asks me my weight, and puts that entry into Apple Health.
  • Set Weekend Chores – displays a list of about 10 common tasks that me and my wife complete on the weekends. We’ll choose the ones we want to get done, and they appear in our shared Reminders list. As we complete them, we’ll mark them off in the list.
  • Open Activities & Moods – pops up a list of around 7 or 8 “moods” that Apple Music showcases playlists in (happy, workout, focus, etc.) and lets me choose an associated playlist.

My Personal Favorite

A couple weeks ago, I watched some fantastic YouTube videos on how to make your own Shortcuts. The author did a great job putting these together, and really tied up some loose ends in my head as to how Shortcuts work.

So, to sort of test my knowledge, I decided to make a Shortcut based on something that generally takes a bit of time to get set up: meditation.

When I start to meditate, I usually put in my AirPods, start some relaxing tunes, and put on do not disturb on the phone. When I’m done, I was manually adding this time to the Health app under “Mindful Minutes”.

This “Meditate” Shortcut automates all of this so I only have to tap one button. It also reduces the screen brightness, automatically attaches the AirPods to the phone, sets the volume to a reasonable, relaxing amount, and automates adding how many minutes I meditated for to the Health app.

Running a Shortcut is as easy as tapping a button.

How could a Shortcut make some of your routines easier? Let me know in the comments!

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